The 10 Best Quality Tools

Quality Tools - Cause and Effect Diagram - Ishikawa in Excel
Excel Spreadsheets

As Quality tools can be considered as any technique or method used to measure, define, analyze and propose solutions to problems faced by a person or company. That is, if you are willing to improve or even better understand your situation, you can use one of these management tools. More important than that, is to have a way of making your concepts tangible and here in LIGHT we believe that quality tools in Excel can help you and much to come up with answers to these problems.

See also:
All about Quality Management

As almost any method or methodology can (on a more subjective level) be considered a tool for quality, since they often aim at improving one aspect, I decided to bring the 10 quality tools that I consider to be the most important.

10 Key Quality Tools

See below 10 good examples of quality tools:

1. PDCA Cycle

The PDCA Cycle is a continuous method of 4 steps that serves to organize the management. The 4 steps are the acronym PDCA itself:

  • Plan - Planning - where the objectives of what you want to achieve are outlined
  • Do - Execution - where you get your hands dirty and execute action plans aiming at the objective outlined
  • Check - Verification - where the indicators and results obtained are verified
  • Act - Action - where corrective actions are taken in relation to the whole process and the cycle is restarted

It is also known as the Deming cycle and is one of the quality tools in Excel that I like the most. See below the representation of the verification part of the PDCA Cycle Worksheet.

Quality Tools - PDCA Cycle in Excel

See that the structure is not fixed, but in our case, we are worked upon causes of a specific problem and with the realization of several action plans with delimited deadlines to control what is happening.

2. Cause and Effect Diagram (Ishikawa)

O Ishikawa diagram is mainly used to identify the causes of a given problem and thus facilitate the proposed solutions and action to solve the same. It is also known as a fishbone diagram, by the way it is represented in our Cause and Effect Diagram Worksheet.

Quality Tools - Cause and Effect Diagram - Ishikawa in Excel

This is a quality tool in Excel which can help you think more before taking action and can be used with a simple step by step:

  1. Define the problem that will be analyzed
  2. Join a group of people who are directly involved with this issue
  3. Raise all possible causes within each of the groups (6M - Materials, Labor, Measures, Environment, Machines and Methods)
  4. Analyze the effects that these causes have generated
  5. Create action plans to solve the most important

It is worth remembering that originally this tool of the quality was more oriented to problems in industries, but that can be applied in any reality.

3. Matrix GUT

A GUT Matrix, just as Ishikawa is also a quality tool that focuses on problem-prioritization assistance, but here the vision is a bit different. Instead of studying the causes of a single problem, the GUT examines several problems by:

  • Gravity
  • Urgency
  • Tendency

In order to define which are the most dangerous problems and which you need to worry about less. See our Problem-Prioritization Worksheet (GUT Matrix).

Quality Tools - GUT Matrix - Prioritizing Excel Problems

4. Pareto diagram (80 / 20)

The most interesting of the quality tools is that you can use more than one with no problem at all. For example, the Pareto it assumes that 80% of consequences comes from 20% of causes. That is, most (80%) of bad things that might be happening in your organization comes from 20% of your problems.

That way, it pays to use the GUT matrix in conjunction with the Pareto Diagram to really try to solve what really matters in your business or personal life. see the Pareto chart worksheet in practice.

Quality Tools - Pareto Diagram in Excel

Note that the column chart sorts the frequency of occurrences per item described.

5. 5w2h Stock Plans

The name of this quality tool, 5W2H, the letters of the first names of the guidelines used in the process came together:

  • What - What?
  • Why - Why?
  • Where - Where?
  • When - When?
  • Who - Who?
  • How - How?
  • How Much - How Much?

See a representation of an action plan analyzed by the bias of a 5W2H Action Plan Control Sheet in Excel.

Quality Tools - 5w2h in Excel

6. Benchmarking

It is one of the oldest quality tools that exists and can be placed in Excel in an extremely practical way. Basically benchmarking serves to seek the best practices performed in an industry or area. When we hear nothing is created, everything is copied, we can remember it.

Thinking about business, many companies have adopted winning practices from other industries to revolutionize their own market. A simple but cool case is that of Cirque du Soleil, which came to stand as a theatrical spectacle instead of being the circus with animals that was losing force.

7. Brainstorming

Continuing with the quality tools, brainstorming is a group dynamics that serves to better explore the creative potential of each individual participant. He assumes that when you are impacted by other ideas, you begin to think of new possibilities for what you had already thought, exponentially increasing the quantity and quality of what would be exposed.

Quality Tools - Brainstorm in Excel

Again, this is a tool that can and should be used in conjunction with the others already mentioned in this post.

8. Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA)

This tool is a bit more specific and serves to increase the reliability of a product at a given time. This is because, when applying the FMEA the objective is to study the potential failures that can occur at any time in the production process, from production to delivery to the customer.

Quality Tools - FMEA in Excel

9. Processes and Flowchart

This is perhaps one of the most devalued quality tools, and this is because it is very difficult to create a process-driven management that is continuously monitored. Ultimately, a company reaches a constant growth capacity when it can master the realization of the main processes of your business.

This only happens when the results of these processes are tracked. See below an example chart panel of a process performance sheet.

Quality Tools - Process Performance in Excel

10. 5S

Finally, the last quality tool that we are going to address is the 5S. Many consider it as one of the initial steps to implement total quality in a company, since it has a myth to do with organization.

Its name comes from the initials in Japanese of:

  • Seiri - Usage
  • Seiton - Organization / Order
  • Seiso - Cleaning
  • Seiketsu - Hygiene / Health
  • Shitsuke - Discipline / Self-discipline

Quality Tools - 5s

Other Quality Tools

We could still list other quality tools, which even look great on spreadsheet Excel as:

  • Histogram
  • Flowchart
  • Check Sheets
  • Control Letters
  • Scatter diagram
  • Quality House (QFD)

What's your Quality Tool Preferred

In general, almost any methodology that aims to improve some aspect of your company can be considered a quality tool. And in your company, do you use some or several of these tools? Did you notice benefits? What is your favorite? Just write in the comments below!

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Administrator and turismologist, passionate about the possibilities that Excel gives to managers, entrepreneurs and students. He is the managing partner of the spreadsheet department at LUZ - Spreadsheets ( and is responsible for the development of spreadsheets with business and personal focus commercialized in its website. He also teaches online Excel courses ( and likes to help thousands of planners through the LUZ Forum and Blog.



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